Ohio State’s season took a drastic turn for the worse on Saturday, dropping its rivalry game against Michigan for its first loss of the year. The Buckeyes now no longer control their own destiny for the College Football Playoff, as they will need other teams ahead of them to lose in order to make the final field of four. As far as Ryan Day’s team is concerned, with the way they looked this past weekend, they are lucky to even still have a shot at a meaningful postseason run.
As a result, the new top four teams in the country look as follows:
Ohio State checks in as the No. 5 team in the country, sitting at 11-1 and slotted just ahead of 10-2 Alabama. While the way they lost the game to Michigan was embarrassing, the Buckeyes still have a decent resume, which has kept them in contention. OSU still boasts wins over No. 8 Penn State and No. 21 Notre Dame, with their only loss coming to the now second-ranked Wolverines. Ohio State struggled against some of the better opponents on the schedule this season, but still managed to win all of their games by double-digits, besides of course the crushing loss to Michigan.
In order for the Buckeyes to make the College Football Playoff, they will need either TCU or USC to falter in their respective conference title games. This isn’t exactly a far-fetched scenario, as neither the Horned Frogs (-2.5) or the Trojans (-3) are favored by more than a field goal on Saturday.
TCU is undefeated on the year, and despite some of the criticism they’ve received for playing close games, 12-0 is still 12-0. Max Duggan has put together a terrific year at QB, and Quentin Johnson is one of the best receivers in college football. However, if they were to lose to Kansas State in the Big 12 title game — a team they already beat in the regular season — they would likely lose their CFP spot to Ohio State. Their early-season ranked wins over Oklahoma, Kansas and Oklahoma State (three teams with a combined 17 losses) no longer look as good, which leaves them with 8-4 Texas as one of their best wins. Their other big win is over Kansas State, and if they were to lose to the Wildcats on Saturday, that becomes a moot point.
Ohio State fans should really be rooting for Utah, because while OSU would probably get the nod over TCU with a loss, the Buckeyes would definitely make it with a USC loss. Caleb Williams has been fantastic and is now the Heisman frontrunner, but that Alex Grinch-led defense is dreadful. The Trojans already have a loss on their resume, which came against the very same Utes they will play in the Pac-12 title game. Their only notable wins are over an 8-3 UCLA team that recently lost to Arizona, and a Notre Dame team that Ohio State defeated by the same margin. If Utah upsets USC on Saturday, the Buckeyes are in.
Whether or not Ohio State deserves a chance to compete for a national title this season after their performance in The Game is certainly up for debate, but there remains a clear path for the Buckeyes to get a chance at redemption with some chaos in front of them. Georgia and Michigan have likely done enough to secure a playoff berth whether they win or not, but those other two spots are still up for grabs.
As of Tuesday afternoon, here were the betting odds for the College Football Playoff, courtesy of the DraftKings Sportsbook:
To win the National Title
- Georgia -155
- Michigan +290
- Ohio State +1000
- USC +1200
- TCU +1200
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.